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Mexico: A black swan in the making? by Jack on Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:28 pm
From FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5:

1-33. Phase II, strategic stalemate, begins with overt guerrilla warfare as the correlation of forces approaches equilibrium. In a rural-based insurgency, guerrillas normally operate from a relatively secure base area in insurgent-controlled territory. In an urban-based insurgency, guerrillas operate clandestinely, using a cellular organization. In the political arena, the movement concentrates on undermining the people’s support of the government and further expanding areas of control. Subversive activities can take the form of clandestine radio broadcasts, newspapers, and pamphlets that openly challenge the control and legitimacy of the established authority. As the populace loses faith in the established authority the people may decide to actively resist it. During this phase, a counterstate may begin to emerge to fill gaps in governance that the host-nation (HN) government is unwilling or unable to address.

Let's take a l...

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Cutting through expectations by wisconsin_cur on Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:38 pm
If learning about peak oil has taught me anything it is that we must all learn to expect the unexpected. A problem arises, however, as our expectations change; we think we have our bases covered and no longer need to expect to be surprised.

Making plans for the future need to be versatile. I have read some people who use this as an excuse to not prepare, they plan to remain mobile. How, I would like to ask, will you adapt if the future presents a surprise where one needs to stay rooted where they are in order to thrive? Just because we have been disabused of some false expectations does not mean that the future is obliged to meet our new one's.

The future is open. Even if certain constraints make a certain outcome necessary does not mean we know exactly how the path from here to there will progress. Even if we can know the megatrends for the next one hundred years, this is not the same thing as knowing how those larger trends will impact our micro-existence or that of our neighbors...

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Confusion reigns by Jack on Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:29 pm
Do you ever observe things that make you stop, wonder what universe you're in, and conclude you're not in Kansas anymore? I do that, perhaps too often.

Today, I talked with two people in a seriously upscale neighborhood (houses from $500,000 up to $10,000,000 and more) who were trying to get estimates done for some work. One was for landscaping, and the other was for a burglar alarm. Neither one could get companies to even give them an estimate - and they're both nice folks, so it isn't a matter of attitude. If we're in a bad economy, if people are hurting for work or business - why on Earth can't people even get an estimate on some work they want done? Curious.

Another person I talked to manages a restaurant. He can't get people to show up on time consistently, and they won't do the various tasks they're supposed to do. The applicants and employees are simply not willing to do they job for which they are paid. In a bad economy? With high unemployment? Curious.

And still another...

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2 Comments Viewed 11448 times
Product Review: Grabbit by wisconsin_cur on Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:38 am
So I am putzing around in the farm store looking at tarps and trying to figure out how to get a couple of jobs done when I come across a product I never noticed before:


The basic idea is that one piece "the dogbone" goes on the underside of the the tarp and a second piece slides onto the dogbone from above. Supposedly it can be used to connect two tarps together. I just used it to attach two tarps: one canvas and one plastic to a building or anything else solid.

The instructions were wanting but after squinting for several minutes at the picture on the package and about twenty minutes of failed attempts I figured out which end of the dogbone was to face out:


The big draw back is that the center hole has an air space between the plastic dogbone and...

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Math even a Journalist should be able to understand by wisconsin_cur on Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:21 am
Through the week I listen to at least 90 minutes of Bloomberg radio every day. I became a regular listener when I noticed that they reported the 7/7 bombings in London 30 - 40 minutes before CNN and other outlets had anything helpful to say. I stay because the morning interview show (Bloomberg Surveillance) is often genuinely helpful and smart, even when I disagree with the guest.

This morning, however, I had blood coming out of my ears. It is not what they were saying as they, like every other news outlet talked of BP's "giant" oil strike in the Gulf of Mexico, it what was being left unsaid.

The story as told in the Financial Times

BP, the UK energy group, has discovered a “giant” oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico that shows a new frontier opening up for US oil production.

The Tiber field, in more than 1,200m of water about 250...

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